My Journey towards Moksha?
Long Way that I have adopted!!!)
So much has been written and read about Moksha. I
also intend to do the same, but with a small difference, where I would like to
share my experience of understanding what moksha is, how to attain moksha and
the way I have adopted to attain moksha... In Hinduism, the sole purpose of
life is to attain Moksha, i.e. freeing the soul or oneself from cycles of birth
and death. I didn’t understand this for a long time. When someone asked me
about after life, or when I myself thought about afterlife, I used to think
about Sourgam (Heaven), the apsaras, the heavenly comforts. I wished I should
be there one day and enjoy all the comforts. Well I should say, I was expecting
for a eternal material comfort.
It didn’t take a long time for me to understand
that my wish was contradictory in nature. “Eternal - Material Comfort”.
I then decided to dive deep and find out, what should I achieve after departing
from this material world? Should I look forward for a Materialistic Eternal
Comfort or something beyond that...? This made me look beyond.
Vedanta is a Hindu philosophy based on Vedas, which mainly
deals with identity of Brahman or paramatma (god) and Atman or jivatma (self),
their relationship. It has many sub schools, which has specified the ways
through which a soul or jivatman can attain moksha.
The three important schools of vedanta are Advaitam
(Non Dualism), Vishistadvaitam (Advaitam with Uniqueness), and Dvaitam
(Non Dualism). Each of these schools has Different paths leading to moksha.
The most popular three ways according to Vishistadvaitam
(Ramanuja’s Philosophy), are - Swanishte, Uktinishte and Acharya
Swanishte is surrendering
yourself directly to god. This is for those who have full knowledge of the
requirements for Saranagathi and must have realized god. Alwars like Sri
Ramanuja, Desika, and Manavala Mamuni etc can do this Saranagathi directly to
the god and have attained moksha.
The second way is Uktinishte, which
is surrendering with the help of an Acharya, where the person repeats the words
uttered by Acharya, thus he attains moksha through Acharya.
The third is Acharya Nishte, which
is surrendering yourself to Acharya, where out of compassion; the
Acharya takes the entire burden (bhAra-samarpanam) of the individual's moksha.
The Acharya requests the Lord to give moksha to this disciple. The Key
here is surrendering to paramatma directly or through Acharya.
Advaitic (Shankara’s Philosophy) School of thought has a different
path, as it teaches that, Paramatma is real, and every other thing is Maya. So
the ultimate liberation can be achieved only when one tries to disassociate
from the world, the society, and finally dissociate from the term I and
dissolve into paramatma. This is where it teaches Aham Brahmasmi (I am
Brahman). Like Vishistadvaitam, it does not talk about achieving moksha, a new
state of jivatma but about realizing or recognizing the already existing
original state (That I am Brahman).
Dvaita philosophy (Madhvacharya’s School of thought), has altogether a different dimension, it sees two worlds, one the eternal and the other,
material. Paramatma is eternal and thus, eternal world is his, and all the
other Jivatmas, matters, etc, belong to the material world or universe. It is
clearly stated that the entire material world is controlled and governed by
paramatma, and the liberation of Jivatmas is essentially dependent on the
Supreme, as he controls.
There are also other schools of thoughts, which put
forward, different paths to attain moksha. Buddhism calls this Nirvana.
Moksha seemed to be a very little word, easy to
read, write and say, but on reality is experiencing/ attaining moksha, easy? If
I ask this question to myself, the answer that I would say is a Yes and No…
Yes it is easy for acharya’s like Ramanuja, Shankara,
Madhvacharya, and many more like them, and No it is not easy for people
like me, the common man, the jivatman(s).
It was never an easy task for me to go through
these schools of thoughts and understand what it means to attain moksha.
I should say, I still haven’t understood.
One doctrine says, surrender to paraBrahman,
either by yourself or through an Acharya or surrender to an Acharya if the
other two is not possible. I found that these are not simple as it is read.
It involves a lot of nithya karmas, procedure, and lots and lots of lifelong
practices. The other doctrine says, “Dissolve yourself into paraBrahman, and
think that you and paramatma are not different. There is no need for you to
attain moksha, but just realize it. The other doctrine says, attaining
moksha is totally the discretion of the paramatma, who governs and controls
Confused and conflicting, I gave up searching for
the route I have to take to continue my journey towards moksha. I never
bothered to think about this for a couple of days, and continued to live life
as it came and travelled in the path that it took me.
A couple of weeks later, when I was scanning my
book shelf for picking up a book for reading, my eyes, stumbled upon a big,
old, and bounded book. The title read “Srimad Bhagavad Geetha”. Though I never
felt like reading the book, something from inside said, pickup this book, most
of your unanswered questions will get answered, and I did the same.
I sat with a cup of filter coffee and started
skimming through the page, and read few words here and there. I was now in the
final pages of the book and I happened to read this
“SARVA DHARMAN PARITHYAJYA MAAM EKAM
AHAM THVA SARVA PAAPEPBHYO MOKSHAYISHYAMI MAASUCHAHA”
I understood the meaning of the sloka to be
“Abandoning all duties, surrender unto me only. I shall deliver you from all
sins (and give moksha). Do not grieve”
Confusions didn’t leave me even after reading this.
I didn’t understand the term abandoning all duties. And I was also wondering
about how to surrender. How foolish I was, when I realized I couldn’t
understand this straight message from paramatma.
He clearly says, abandoning everything surrender to
me. There are two problems now, Abandoning and Surrendering.
I was thinking, thinking and thinking about
abandoning, but to my surprise, I couldn’t even abandon my foolishness of not
understanding the paramatma’s message. That is when it struck me, why not first
think about how to surrender, and later about abandon.
Even after I started thinking about how I should
surrender, nothing came into my head. I read a lot, about various ways to
surrender, but all that seemed to be on a different plane. That is when I
really understood, that I still did not surrender to him, but was
thinking, about all possible ways to surrender. This is what I called my
foolishness in the earlier paragraphs.
The moment I thought this, something which came
into my mind was “Ego less Worship and Life”.
All these years my prayers were so selfish. I have
prayed for a good job, I have prayed that I have to get a good, understanding
wife, I have prayed for so many things that I wanted In my life. Setting this
apart, many at times all through my life, I have also told people “I have
passed the exams”, ” I have got this bike”; “ I am doing this”, “I won” etc.
But did I do all this? Or Did someone make me do
all this? Or whether paramatma, is doing all this through me? I slowly
started answering these questions to myself.
I remembered a passage from one of the books, in
which Newton is said to have quoted, “Many people sat under a tree, from which
apple started falling down. Some feared, some ate the apple, some threw it
away, but I found that it is actually a force, called gravity. But.. What was
the force behind me which made me find that and not anyone else who had sat
under the same tree and experienced the same situation as I did”.
That is when I realized how egoistic I have been
all through my life? How egoistic I have been when I was claiming to the world
that I cleared my exams, I got married, I did this, I did that. How foolish, I
was to say all these.
Thus I realized surrendering to god is nothing but
leaving the I (The ego) and telling him that whatever is
happening, or will happen is not my efforts, or wish or even thought,
it’s all his own thoughts, actions which he is executing through me.
Surrendering myself completely without ego, I abandoned, my grieving
stopped, thus continuing on my journey in a shortest, but a long journey to
moksha. Would you like to join??